Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Indonesia
is a collection of thirteen
essays on Indonesian history. Three of the essays are about Legge (on
his relationship with Cornell, his role in the history of Asian Studies
in Australia and his approach to history and to Indonesian studies) and
one is a fairly polemical discussion of current trends in Indonesian
studies, drawing on wider theoretical and philosophical perspectives.
The other essays range from the almost purely ethnographic — a study
of Shi'a ritual in Sumatra and two essays on peasant life in colonial
Java — to a biographical and historiographical essay on the letters
of R.A. Kartini. Other subjects include prostitution in colonial Java,
the missing Indonesian bourgeoisie (a kind of introduction to Robison's
book Indonesia: The Rise of Capital
), health as a nationalist issue in
colonial Indonesia, Christianity vs Confucianism in West Java, and the
involvement of Australian troops in Sulawesi at the end of World War II.
Anyone involved in Indonesian or Southeast Asian studies is likely to find
some of the essays in this eclectic collection relevant to their work.
Most of the essays are, however, too specialised to be of real interest
to generalist historians.
- Related reviews:
- books about Indonesia + Indonesian history
- more anthropology
- more modern history